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Ranking All 20 WWE Money In The Bank Ladder Matches From Worst To Best

12 years of drama, carnage, and complete destruction...

Money in the Bank Ladder Matches are exciting for two reasons.

There's the promise of chaotic action, a given thanks to the nature of the stipulation. Multiple wrestlers, multiple ladders, no disqualifications, and everybody battling for a single object. High spots are expected more than hoped for.

Then there's also the meaning behind the stipulation. Every MITB match carries with it the idea of a shift in the wrestling landscape. This could be the moment an unheralded midcarder shatters the glass ceiling and moves into the main event scene. Of course, that's not always how these matches pan out. For every up-and-comer that has made themselves into a bonafide star, there's a disappointing winner to leave the crowd feeling deflated - regardless of the quality of the match itself.

Thankfully, MITB Ladder Matches can be enjoyed in a vacuum. If we pretend, for example, that Damien Sandow's victory didn't ultimately result in disappointment, the bout in which he seized the briefcase becomes infinitely more enjoyable - and it's certainly a good one, as we'll see.

Generally, Money in the Bank is a stipulation which disappoints far less than its peers. There have almost certainly been more good MITB ladder matches than Royal Rumbles, despite the latter being regarded as the more beloved stipulation.

With that in mind - and, hopefully, a heady sense of optimism to go with it - it's time to rank all 20 WWE Money in the Bank ladder matches from worst to best. Hold on to your hats.

20. Money In The Bank 2017 (Women's)


WWE


Where: Scottrade Center - St. Louis, Missouri

Who: Charlotte Flair, Becky Lynch, Tamina, Carmella (w/ James Ellsworth), Natalya

What: Unquestionably the worst booked Money in the Bank ladder match of all, and it couldn't have come at a worse time. With the possible exception of the first-ever MITB clash at WrestleMania 21, no briefcase match has carried such a sense of historic importance as the first ever women's edition.

Sadly, WWE decided to have James Ellsworth physically pull down the briefcase for Carmella - a decision that proved immediately to be an unwise one, given the instant internet backlash. The match itself was understandably tentative, given the relative lack of depth in the SmackDown women's roster, and the fact that none of the competitors had been in a MITB match before. That can be forgiven, but the finish certainly can't.

19. WrestleMania XXVI


WWE


Where: University of Phoenix Stadium - Glendale, Arizona

Who: Kofi Kingston, MVP, Evan Bourne, Jack Swagger, Shelton Benjamin, Matt Hardy, Dolph Ziggler, Drew McIntyre, Kane, Christian

What: The match where Money in the Bank finally jumped the shark, after five relatively successful outings before it. This was an exercise in spots over storytelling, and while the anarchic nature of MITB can often allow for this, a good number of these set-piece moments were executed in sloppy fashion.

Another problem was the sheer number of competitors in the match - 10 in total - preventing anybody from picking up any sort of real momentum and distorting the overall narrative of the bout. There were flashes of brilliance, such as Evan Bourne's Shooting Star Press from a horizontal ladder, or Kofi Kingston utilising two broken halves of a ladder as stilts - but they couldn't save a generally messy contest.

18. Money In The Bank 2015


WWE


Where: Nationwide Arena - Columbus, Ohio

Who: Randy Orton, Neville, Kane, Dolph Ziggler (w/ Lana), Kofi Kingston, Sheamus, Roman Reigns

What: If MITB ladder matches took place every week on Raw, this is what they'd eventually start to feel like. The action itself was okay, but everything just felt 'there' rather than grabbing the crowd's attention. Of course, it didn't help that this coincided with the early stages of the anti-Roman Reigns movement - especially as he was booked to be the unquestionable star of the show.

Interferences can sometimes work in MITB bouts, but equally, they can backfire - and this was sadly an example of the latter. With Reigns marching to victory, the lights went out and Bray Wyatt appeared to snatch victory from his grasp. Had the pair been engaged in any sort of feud at the time, this could have worked - but the Eater of Worlds was last seen in a midcard rivalry with Ryback. Although smarkier sections of the crowd were relieved to see Roman fail, booking Sheamus as the surprise winner proved to be a baffling decision.

17. SmackDown Live (27 June 2017)


WWE


Where: Valley View Casino Center - San Diego, California

Who: Charlotte Flair, Becky Lynch, Tamina, Carmella, Natalya

What: The re-do. After James Ellsworth essentially won the first-ever women's MITB Ladder Match for Carmella, WWE were forced to book a hastily-arranged rematch. It was always going to be difficult to book an entirely different match (featuring the same five women) so soon after the original, but this televised edition proved to be more satisfactory.

Carmella won again, this time without the help of Ellsworth - although in a nice twist he tried to get involved once more, only for Becky Lynch to topple his ladder mid-climb. Ultimately, this was a match hamstrung by ad breaks and prior booking mistakes but partially atoned for WWE's earlier error at least.


16. Money In The Bank 2010 (WWE Championship)


WWE


Where: Sprint Center - Kansas City, Missouri

Who: Randy Orton, The Miz, Mark Henry, Ted DiBiase (w/Maryse), John Morrison, Chris Jericho, Evan Bourne, Edge

What: The flashier of two MITB ladder matches on the night (the first event to feature more than one, as Money in the Bank moved from WrestleMania to its own dedicated pay per view). However, flashier doesn't necessarily equal better, and although this bout had its moments, it still contained some key flaws.

I don't doubt that MITB ladder matches are incredibly hard to organise, especially those with eight participants. Some outings over the years have succeeded in setting up elaborate high spots without telegraphing them too much - but that's the area in which this bout really fell down. The most glaring example saw a ladder erected upside-down for no obvious reason, only for Miz to simply push Randy Orton into it en route to victory. That's not to suggest that there weren't enjoyable moments - particularly Maryse climbing towards the briefcase on behalf of Ted DiBiase Jr., forcing John Morrison to politely escort her down - thereby allowing DiBiase to heelishly use the distraction and almost seize victory.

15. Money In The Bank 2012 (WWE Championship)


WWE


Where: US Airways Center - Phoenix, Arizona

Who: Kane, Chris Jericho, The Miz, Big Show, John Cena

What: How a MITB ladder match would be if they were around in the '80s. This was a different take on the stipulation for certain, as five very 'sports entertainment' roster members (most not really suited to Money in the Bank) took part in a glorified Fatal Five-Way.

That's not to say it wasn't good. Superstars like Cena, Jericho, Miz, et al have enjoyed such enduring success because they know how to tell a story in the ring. Despite largely avoiding the more modern aspects of the stipulation - high spots, elaborate sequences, etc. - the five took us on a pretty enjoyable (if basic) journey. Big Show was taken out early by Cena, and buried under a pile of ladders, only to return for the endgame. The finish took the sheen off a little, as Cena attempted to bash Show in the head with the briefcase, only for it to break free in his hands anyway. Fortunately he was booked to win (imagine if he hadn't been!), but it did lend the whole match a slightly farcical tone in the memory.

14. Money In The Bank 2013 (WWE Championship)


WWE


Where: Wells Fargo Center - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Who: Rob Van Dam, Christian, Daniel Bryan, Randy Orton, Sheamus, CM Punk

What: Like the previous match discussed, this was a slower-paced, plot-heavy bout in which the briefcase seemed to take a backseat. It was, however, slightly better, and peppered with unique little moments. We saw a crowd-popping showdown between ultimate internet darlings CM Punk and Daniel Bryan, as well as the raucously-received return of Rob Van Dam (only enhanced by the fact that the event was in Philadelphia).

Orton emerged the fairly surprising winner, but the real story wasn't the match's outcome. New 'Paul Heyman guy' Curtis Axel ran in to cost Daniel Bryan, only for Punk to take issue with his interference and nail him with a Go 2 Sleep. This brought out Heyman himself, who berated an unconscious Axel before urging Punk to grab the briefcase. Punk did so, only for his longtime friend to blindside him with several sickening ladder shots (drawing a startling amount of blood). It was an effective twist, even if that match itself wasn't the most spectacular in MITB history.

13. WrestleMania 22


WWE


Where: Allstate Arena - Rosemont, Illinois

Who: Matt Hardy, Shelton Benjamin, Finlay, Rob Van Dam, Bobby Lashley, Ric Flair

What: A rushed sequel to the mind-blowing original MITB ladder match, this was also the shortest of any of its peers. Clocking in at just over 10 minutes, WrestleMania 22's Money in the Bank bout didn't really have enough time to impress as much as it perhaps should have.

That's not to say there weren't moments. Ric Flair took a startling Superplex off a ladder and was ushered to the back, only to return later to a monstrous reception. Shelton Benjamin continued where he'd left off the year previously, showing the athleticism and bravery that would eventually see him go down as one of the stipulation's all-time greats. However, it's hard not to watch this match back and want more. On the plus side, Rob Van Dam won, setting us off on the road to One Night Stand 2006 and his long-overdue moment in the sun.

12. Money In The Bank 2010 (World Heavyweight Championship)


WWE


Where: Sprint Center - Kansas City, Missouri

Who: Kofi Kingston, Dolph Ziggler, Christian, Cody Rhodes, Matt Hardy, Drew McIntyre, Kane, Big Show

What: We've already talked about 2010's flashy-but-ineffective MITB ladder match, and its counterpart can be seen as the complete opposite. This wasn't the most thrilling bout ever, but it was very solid indeed. Fittingly, then, it was won by the eternally-reliable Kane, who made history by cashing in later on the same night.

If there's one negative to draw attention to, it's the length. This remains one of the longest ever MITB ladder matches at over 26 minutes and understandably felt like a bit of a slog at times. Much of the action revolved around the smaller men attempting to stop Big Show and Kane, which actually made for a pretty unique dynamic. All in all, this bout felt like a reaction to the hollow spotfest of WrestleMania XXVI. There were no game-changing moments this time around, but everything made perfect sense.

11. Money In The Bank 2011 (WWE Championship)


WWE


Where: Allstate Arena - Rosemont, Illinois

Who: Alberto Del Rio, Kofi Kingston, Jack Swagger, Evan Bourne, R-Truth, Alex Riley, The Miz, Rey Mysterio

What: A clearly carefully-planned match that somehow descended into carnage anyway. It may be a surprise to see this MITB outing so low on the list, given its place on one of the most beloved WWE pay per views ever.

Of the two ladder matches on the show, this was unquestionably in the trickier spot. The first had opened the show at an unbelievable pace, setting the bar high and immediately establishing itself as a top tier Money in the Bank bout. Wisely, this didn't try to match its predecessor for pace and intensity, but rather emphasised the strategic aspect of the stipulation. From every man starting the bout armed with a ladder (of various sizes) to eventual winner Alberto Del Rio ripping off Rey Mysterio's mask en route to victory, psychology was the key. It's unfortunate, then, that two ugly botches prevented it from existing on a higher level. First, Swagger and Kingston plummeted from a ladder in terrifying fashion, then, after triumphantly de-masking Mysterio, Del Rio's own ladder crumbled sadly beneath his weight. Still, he didn't throw too much of a Shawn Michaels tantrum, dutifully setting up a new ladder and grabbing the briefcase.


10. Money In The Bank 2012 (World Heavyweight Championship)


WWE


Where: US Airways Center - Phoenix, Arizona

Who: Dolph Ziggler (w/ Vickie Guerrero), Santino Marella, Cody Rhodes, Damien Sandow, Tyson Kidd, Sin Cara, Tensai (w/ Nakamoto), Christian

What: A real match of two halves. The opening portions of this bout were so run-of-the-mill, I was convinced that the wrestlers had been instructed not to try anything too flashy - not with John Cena making his Money in the Bank debut later that night. Thankfully, I was proven to be very wrong indeed.

This picked up in a major way, with several participants flying around and putting their bodies on the line. A particularly memorable sequence saw Tensai (stripped of his lordship by this stage, apparently) Powerbomb Sin Cara onto a horribly unyielding ladder bridge. Ziggler stepped in, only for the former Prince Albert to hurl him terrifyingly over the announce table. Although Dolph's eventual victory wasn't as questionable as it might be today, it's clear that the crowd were molten at the thought of a Christian win. Captain Charisma certainly put on a show, leaping from one ladder to another to spear Cody Rhodes, and sending Santino Marella's face juddering down the rungs of another shortly after - truly the finest comedy bump of any MITB ladder match.

9. WrestleMania XXIV


WWE


Where: Florida Citrus Bowl - Orlando, Florida

Who: John Morrison, Carlito, Shelton Benjamin, CM Punk, Mr Kennedy, MVP, Chris Jericho

What: The first of CM Punk's two consecutive MITB victories, and the far better received by those in attendance - although, in terms of match quality, I think it lags very slightly behind its younger brother.

This bout had it all in terms of big, inventive set pieces - although the crucial parts of the match linking these moments together were a little disjointed. Still, it's hard not to appreciate spots like John Morrison's ladder-assisted Moonsault to the outside, the thunderous tower of doom off the side of a ladder, and Carlito's crunching high-velocity Backstabber. We even had a very well-received run-in, as a previously-injured Matt Hardy clambered through the crowd to cost MVP victory. The ultimate winner was Punk, dragging Jericho's legs through the rungs of a ladder to triumph in inventive fashion.

8. WrestleMania XXV


WWE


Where: Reliant Stadium - Houston, Texas

Who: CM Punk, Mark Henry, MVP, Finlay (w/ Hornswoggle), Shelton Benjamin, Kofi Kingston, Christian, Kane

What: Punk's second win, and the first MITB ladder match to really go all-out with insanely difficult spots. Fortunately, when your bout features the likes of ladder specialists Benjamin, Kingston, and Christian, you can get away with that level of ambition. It paid off here for the most part - even if Shelton almost killed himself, diving headfirst into (not onto) a crowd of opponents from a huge ladder on the ramp.

If there's a minor gripe to be had, it's the relative lack of storytelling. This match sometimes felt more like eight guys trying to hurt one another in increasingly inventive ways, rather than a race to the briefcase. Still, the ending sequence was inventive and exciting, with several potential winners. Christian and Shelton looked to be toppling out of the ring, but the former somehow saved himself by planting a foot on the top rope and pushing his way back to the centre. Punk then springboarded in out of nowhere, but got his legs caught in the rungs of the ladder (a deliberate callback to the previous year's bout). Kane joined the action, Chokeslamming poor Christian to the canvas, but allowing Punk to free himself and head-kick the Big Red Machine down as well. Exciting stuff.

7. Money In The Bank 2013 (World Heavyweight Championship)


WWE


Where: Wells Fargo Center - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Who: Fandango, Dean Ambrose, Antonio Cesaro, Jack Swagger, Cody Rhodes, Damien Sandow, Wade Barrett

What: HeelFest 2K13. Amazingly, despite this match appearing to consist of only heels, it still proved to be an engaging and entertaining encounter. Quite honestly, this match had no right to be as good as it was.

There were memorable moments, despite perhaps not being as high-risk as we were used to be this point in the stipulation's history. Dean Ambrose's mid-air skinning of the cat on a ladder was totally unique, even if it did lead to him being unceremoniously dumped out of the ring. This bout is perhaps most remembered as a landmark moment for Cody Rhodes, who was on fire towards the end, nailing several big moves en route to an apparent victory. Of course, that wasn't to be the case, as he was double-crossed by tag team partner Damien Sandow. This really should have led to a huge blowoff between the pair, but instead we were subjected to a simple loss for the Intellectual Saviour Of The Masses, who unwisely attempted to cash in on John Cena. Still, as a moment in its own right, this match was a surprise hit.

6. Money In The Bank 2014


WWE


Where: TD Garden - Boston, Massachusetts

Who: Seth Rollins, Rob Van Dam, Jack Swagger, Dolph Ziggler, Kofi Kingston, Dean Ambrose

What: An intense, high-energy affair centred around the blood feud between former allies Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose. The other competitors in the match had their moments too, but everything always seemed to circle back to the war between the two former Shield brothers. Ambrose started as a meant to go on, jumping Seth before the bell and beginning the match at a very fast pace.

Things only escalated from there, especially when Rollins was nailed with an amazing Superplex from the top of a ladder to the canvas. This would almost certainly have ranked in the top three of this list were it not for the deflating finish, which saw Corporate Kane lumber out and all but win the match for Rollins. Still, everything leading up to that moment was truly top notch.

5. Money In The Bank 2017 (Men's)


WWE


Where: Scottrade Center - St. Louis, Missouri

Who: AJ Styles, Dolph Ziggler, Sami Zayn, Kevin Owens, Shinsuke Nakamura, Baron Corbin

What: Another very good match with a deflating ending, but one which made total sense in context. Unlike the women's bout on the same show, which was unforgivably ruined by silly booking, this bout was structured with crowd enjoyment in mind. Two rivalries provided the backbone - the eternal war between Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn, and the tantalising prospect of AJ Styles facing Shinsuke Nakamura.

Ultimately, Baron Corbin played spoiler, jumping Nakamura during his entrance and snatching the briefcase from both babyfaces right at the end. His cash-in would go down as arguably the worst of all time, as he was unceremoniously rolled up by WWE Champion Jinder Mahal on a later episode of SmackDown Live. Disregarding that, however, this match must be considered one of the finest in MITB history.


4. WrestleMania 23


WWE


Where: Ford Field - Detroit, Michigan

Who: Jeff Hardy, King Booker (w/ Queen Sharmell), Finlay, CM Punk, Mr Kennedy, Matt Hardy, Randy Orton, Edge

What: The first MITB ladder match to really try and elevate the stipulation to the next level, after a disappointingly short bout the year prior. This remains a key moment in Money in the Bank history, as all eight Superstars began to explore the limits of the match type.

I'm not talking solely about high spots either. Matt Hardy was a crucial figure here, at one stage halting Booker T's ascent by grabbing his wife and threatening to hit her with a Twist of Fate. Elsewhere, he played upon his brother's status as an adrenaline-junkie, tempting him into demolishing Edge (and the ladder beneath him) with an astounding Legdrop from a ladder to the outside of the ring. Even Hornswoggle's interference added to the quality of the bout, especially when eventual winner Mr Kennedy nailed him with an incredibly tricky Green Bay Plunge from the side of a ladder.

3. Money In The Bank 2011 (World Heavyweight Championship)


WWE


Where: Allstate Arena - Rosemont, Illinois

Who: Sin Cara, Wade Barrett, Justin Gabriel, Sheamus, Cody Rhodes, Heath Slater, Daniel Bryan, Kane

What: An appropriately exhilarating start to one of WWE's best pay per views ever. This bout was wrestled at a ludicrously high pace, at times resembling a demolition derby as much as a Money in the Bank ladder match. The high spots were memorable and numerous: Sheamus Powerbombing Sin Cara from the apron through a ladder; karma paying back the Irishman when he bumped on a ladder that decided not to break at all; Justin Gabriel's jaw-dropping 450 Splash from a ladder laid across the top rope onto Kane, and so on.

If that wasn't enough, we were also treated to a very satisfying ending, as Daniel Bryan began his ascent to wrestling superstardom with a long-awaited victory. Although a pure babyface at this moment, his eventual cash-in would lead to a heel turn and the birth of his iconic "Yes!" catchphrase. The rest is history.

2. Money In The Bank 2016


WWE


Where: T-Mobile Arena - Paradise, Nevada

Who: Chris Jericho, Cesaro, Sami Zayn, Alberto Del Rio, Kevin Owens, Dean Ambrose

What: A cavalcade of excellent wrestlers, making for perhaps the smoothest Money in the Bank ladder match of all time. After the previous two years saw interferences from Bray Wyatt and Corporate Kane, this was a refreshingly straightforward affair - and, simply, put, a wonderful piece of professional wrestling.

Additionally, this bout came immediately after an excellent contest between John Cena and AJ Styles, but managed to keep the crowd excited throughout. Cesaro, Del Rio, and Zayn all ran wild with exciting sequences at various points, the latter often dishing out extra punishment to his nemesis Kevin Owens. A particularly sickening spot saw Zayn Powerslam KO onto the side of a prone ladder - drawing an audible gasp from the crowd. The finish could be considered a little contrived, with an elaborate construction of ladders forming two platforms for Superstars to bump painfully onto. The last man standing was Dean Ambrose, who snatched the briefcase that he'd cash in later that very same night.

1. WrestleMania 21


WWE


Where: Staples Center - Los Angeles, California

Who: Chris Jericho, Chris Benoit, Christian (w/ Tyson Tomko), Shelton Benjamin, Edge, Kane

What: The original - and still unsurpassed - Money in the Bank Ladder Match. Although nowhere near as complex as some later incarnations, this bout was laid out to perfection. Every competitor had a clearly defined role, all of which combined to tell an enthralling story on the Grandest Stage Of Them All.

Chris Jericho was the potential favourite, having pitched the very idea of the stipulation to Eric Bischoff. Kane was an early target as the largest man in the bout, but continuously stuck around until the final sequence. Christian was at his dastardly, heelish best, flagrantly utilising the help of right-hand man Tyson Tomko. Shelton Benjamin shone, of course, and would go on to become perhaps the most exhilarating performer in MITB history. Benoit - as uncomfortable as it is to say - was the brave babyface, headbutting a seemingly-unstoppable Kane off the ladder, and appearing to secure victory. Instead, that honour went to opportunistic villain Edge, who blindsided Benoit with a steel chair to snatch a famous victory. Bravo.

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Jack G. King

Written by Jack G. King

Head of News at Cultaholic.com | [email protected]